Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Richard Widmark, Richard Basehart, Dolores Michaels, June Lockhart, Carl Benton Reid
Director: Karl Malden
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Military & War
Studio: Tcfhe/mgm Release Date: 05/12/2009 Run time: 96 minutes Rating: Nr
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One of Widmark's best.
Ms. V. J. Tomlinson | Cornwall England | 03/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Through his company Heath Productions, this was Richard Widmarks first venture into film production. Directed by his 'real life' friend Karl Malden, Widmark's performance as Colonel Bill Edwards is everything one would expect from this talented actor.
The story is about a group of Korean POWs who were subjected to psychological torture and physical hardship in an effort to make them sign false statements that the USA was using biological warfare. After months of holding out, the senior officer suddenly capitulates and begins to try to indocrinate his men with Korean propaganda. One of the men dies mysteriously. On their repatriation to the USA, it is the job of Colonel Edwards to find out exactly what happened.
The film is set on a military base, Governor's Island,New York, though the introduction and later 'flash backs' take place at Camp Gee Gee in North Korea.
Edward's investigation includes two main characters, the senior officer Major Cargill (Richard Basehart) accused of treason, and Lieutenant Miller (Rip Torn) a main witness. There are many facets to this investigation and Widmark plays each with equal mastery. He uses gentle coaxing with witnesses at first, then when this fails and he is put under pressure from his C.O. to speed things up, he builds up the pressure to angrily try and get at the truth. There is a moving and tender scene when Edwards visits Cargill's wife (June Lockhart) to try and find out why her husband refuses to defend himself against the charge of treason.
The films serious tone during the investigations is relieved for filmgoers by scenes revealing the amicable and loyal relationships Edwards has with his team - right hand man Sgt Baker (Martin Balsam)and secretary Sgt Evans (Dolores Michaels).
The finale comes when Edwards brings Miller and Cargill together once again. Cargill breaks down and tells the harrowing trail of events that lead to his breakdown.
"You can't expect a man to be hero for ever - there ought to be a time limit."
This is a thought provoking film with a difficult and at times unpalatable subject matter, setting personal safety against patriotism. It is a film well worth watching for this alone, one worthy of a repeat viewing, and for Richard Widmark fans it is a must."
An interesting artefact
Siriam | London United Kingdom | 06/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A 1957 film based on whether a Korean POW should be tried for treason based on the evidence known to the US army investigator (Richard Widmark) the movie structure reveals strongly its theatre play origins but is fascinating for a number of reasons:
1. The take on what constitutes treason based on how POWs were treated by North Korea was given its time of release at the height of the Cold War a very bold story line.
2. While Richard Widmark's role proves acting the heavy and not the good guy would always be his forte the performances of Richard Basehart as the accused major and Martin Balsam as the closed minded adjutant to Widmark's Colonel prove that each were well capable of greater things though fate was ultimately kinder to Balsam in this regard in their respective careers.
3. The film is one of the two movies directed by the ever popular actor Karl Malden (Widmark as co-producer may have had a say in his choice) and one is left feeling sorry he did not take up the directors chair more often based on this first outing."
Who is the hero and who the traitor?
David Bonesteel | Fresno, CA United States | 12/22/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An army lawyer (Richard Widmark) is assigned the case of a major (Richard Baseheart) who refuses to defend himself against charges of collaborating with the enemy during his imprisonment in a North Korean POW camp despite a number of suspicious circumstances. The resolution will cast new light on what it means to be a hero or a traitor.
Although this film is a bit stagy due to its origin as a theater play, it succeeds by getting the fundamentals right: a fine cast, taut direction (by actor Karl Malden), and compelling drama. It's mature and nuanced view of patriotism is particularly interesting since this film was produced during the depths of the Cold War.